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Truce and Truth, a short story
I looked at my watch and sighed. She was late. Again ! Always ! What is it with women that they can hardly ever be on time . Is it to teach us guys some lesson ? Is it pure vanity : I am so beautiful , I'm gonna make you wait for me. And wait ! It seems that the more beautiful she is, the more time you're going to sit on your ass wondering if she's going to show up or not. And wait ! I looked out to the window. The ocean is almost of a turquoise color today. Beautiful ! Even though we are in the middle of a strong tropical storm, it is sunny outside. And that wind ! I love a strong wind. It reminds me of places like Cornwall, Wales or Scotland, places I used to love to go when I lived in Europe.
- Hi, how are you ? I didn't see her coming, lost in deep thoughts, or is it that I no longer expected her ? She's all smile as she leans on me to give me a kiss me on the cheek. Good to see you, she said.
- Good to see you too, I replied. I guess my tone of voice betrayed my mood and she picked up on it.
- What's the matter, you seem cranky ?
- No, not really, I just waited half an hour for you and I was beginning to think you wouldn't show.
- Oh no, I would have called you ! So she would have called to say she wasn't coming but she didn't bother to call to say she'd be half an hour late. Is that what they mean by "fashionably late"?
- Well, what happened to you ?
- Oh nothing, I just got caught in traffic. Still all smiles. Stuck in traffic my ass, there is no traffic ever in Paradise Pines, Florida. Rush hour is when you spend eleven minutes instead of ten to go all the way across town. That's why we live here. And it's not even close to rush hour, it's lunch time. Like it wasn't complicated enough to convince her to have lunch with me. I'll tell you, when I was thirty years old, I thought I knew everything there was to know about women. Now that I am twice that age, I'll be the first to gladly admit I don't know the first thing about them. I just don't have a clue, and it seems to get more complicated everyday. And I know I'm not the only one...
I got up to help her take off her raincoat, and wow, I just got hit in the face. Her Marilyn look alike hairdo and adorable face, Her little unpretentious but oh, so sophisticated red dress, one row of pearls around the neck and matching one around her arm. Red leather high heels. Hmm, she's wearing the watch I got her for her birthday ! She sits back with elegance. Every move she makes is an elegant one !
I sat myself and ask :
- So, how's life treating you ?
- Great, I just got back from my two week cruise to Alaska.
- I know, that's why I wanted to touch base with you. How was it ?
- Oh, it was wonderful, it so exceeded my expectations". Of course it did, we were supposed to go together originally, so she couldn't miss the opportunity to remind me that I should have been there too. And to send me the message that she had a great time without me.
The waitress showed up and we ordered our drinks, water with two slices of lemon for her, plain water for me.
-"What about you, she said, how's your love life ?" With a big smile !
-"Basically, it sucks, and I only have you to blame for it". She became defensive :
-"Hey, you're the one who ended our relationship, remember?"
-"Of course I remember, how could I forget? But do you remember why that happened ?"
-"Yes, you couldn't deal with the fact that I am very religious and deeply involved with my church and you coudn't fathom that I wouldn't have sexual intercourse with you without being married to you."
- "Sorry, but you're wrong on both counts. I completely respect your religious choices and beliefs, you know that. Didn't I even go to church with you a number of times. As for sex, or lack thereof I should say, I explained to you too. You lied to me. I don't blame you for who you are. I blamed you, and still do for not being straightforward with me. This is the kind of stuff you should tell on a first date, so the guy in front of you knows where he stands and can make an educated decision about seeing you again or not. Instead, you waited four months to let the cat out of the bag. You waited for me to be madly in love with you to tell me the truth. By that time, I had two choices :accept your demands or go away. I was so angry with you at the time. By acting the way you did, which was no accident, you intended it that way, we both got hurt. I'm sorry, but for someone who preaches honesty all the time, you have quite a long way to go, girl !
- "My, you hate my guts, don't you ?"
- "If I hated your guts, I wouldn't be here , I can find better use for my time"
- "So, why exactly are we here for ?"
-"Well, in my mind, I thought we could try to lay on the table the reasons why things didn't work out between us, because I really wanted them to. To me, you were the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And then I fell off a cliff !
- "You know, when we were dating, I took a lot of flak from my family, my sisters, my children, because I was seeing a man who hadn't received Jesus in his heart.
- "I did receive Jesus in my heart, I was baptised and I practiced religion until I was about fifteen. And then I made a different choice. Like you did ! You decide to live your life a certain way, and I made a different decision. Neither of us is better than the other for it. We are just different. Something I could easily overcome and you could not because everyone else in your life has a word to say about how you should live and you let them ! In the end, you just watch your life pass you by and that's not something I want for myself. You confided to me that you didn't have sexual intercourse, those are your words, with anyone for what, twenty years. To me that's insane. Why would I deprive myself of sexual pleasure, is there any logical reason why I should even consider something like that ?
- "Well, we were probably raised in a different way?"
- "I don't think we were. I just can't believe you would sacrifice all the good things we had in the name of what ? Didn't you tell me you had a list of over thirty traits of character you like in me ?
- "Yes I did, and I still have it, I still look at it sometimes"
-"That's probably twenty seven more than I know about myself. Trust me, If I met a woman with half these qualities or whatever you saw in me, she's a keeper !"
- " We could have got married, that would have solved everything !"
- "Don't think I didn't consider it, because I did. But in any case, I would have wanted to wait at least a year before doing so, and at my age, I'm not going to stay a year without sex if I can help it. Hell, I couldn't even take Viagra if I needed it, because of my bad heart, so thanks but no thanks. And marriage would have solved only half the problem. What about religion. I don't mind going to church with you on occasion, I actually liked it, but to me it's just a social function, like going to someone's birthday party. And that's not enough for you. Nothing would be enough unless I turn my back on everything I believe, and I'm sorry dear, this is not going to happen. Not at my age, I'm set in my ways just the way you are.
- "So. there's no hope for anything then ?"
- " Maybe I could have worked my way around the sex thing in some twisted unhealthy way, but you lied to me, and I can't get past that. Isn't it ironic that, of all people, you, the dedicated, God fearing Christian lied to me ?" You know, I maynot be religious, but in many instances, I have noted that I have higher morals than a number of self proclaimed Christians I know."
- "I didn't lie to you !"
- "But you didn't tell me the all truth, did you ?"
- "Well... I..."
- "you don't have to answer that, it's a rethorical question, I already know the answer !"
- "Can we still be friends ?" I noticed she now had tears in her eyes
- "We are friends, but being friends is nothing compared to what we were and that kills me"
-"I know !"
The waitress couldn't have come back at a worse time, but we ordered our lunch anyway. She chose the salmon with a pineaple glaze and I got the blackened mahi-mahi. The meal came with a glass of wine so we both ordered some dry white to compliment the fish. The view outside was gorgeous. I almost regretted to have picked up Fishack for our lunch. Now, this wonderful place would always be associated with our separation. Her teary eyes were keeping in contact with mine. I knew she still loved me and so did I. And the more I thought about it, the more I could see there was no solution. I knew that if I had wanted to, I could have convinced her to make love to me. But I didn't want to. I didn't want her to feel even more pressure from her family or to live with that kind of regrets.
Our lunch was, for the most part, silent. Filled only with looks full of pain and contrition. I asked about her family. She asked about mine. She told me about her cruise and I pictured myself being there with her. I told her about my intention to go myself on a short two nights cruise to the Bahamas, but I had to find somebody to share a cabin with. She looked at me in a unequivocal way. She would come with me if I asked, but what would be the point ? We know now that we'll never see eye to eye. We have finally agreed to disagree...
I walked her to her car. We held hands and she kissed me. And cried. And kissed me again. And cried some more. Damn, I'm going to miss her. We hugged like people on death row must hug. I guess we both thought this must be the last time. It's going to take me some time to get over this failed relationship. I'm sad and angry at the same time. Sad because I'm pretty sure I'll never meet someone like her again. Angy because all this pain could have been avoided. And then, a lyric of one of Diana Krall's song crossed my mind :
"But who said that love is always fair, and why should I care ?"
Copyright 2012 by Austinhealy, his heirs and assigns.
Another short story by Austinhealy
- Pulpit love, a short story, Part 1
A large amount of cash is missing. So are two eighteen years old twin sisters. What's going on at the Paradise Pines Church of God ?